Feeling anxious or fearful around the current pandemic?

05 April 2021

Researchers have observed that large-scale disasters such as pandemics tend to cause an increase in mental health issues. The coronavirus pandemic is unlike anything we’ve experienced before, plunging us into a world of uncertainty, and disrupting the ways in which we live and work.

Anxieties surrounding the virus can be both frightening and overwhelming. If you’re struggling at the moment, know that you’re not alone. These feelings are completely normal in times like these. Having some self-help strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to boost your mental health and wellbeing are crucial for maintaining a positive outlook and getting through these uncertain times. 

Remember that physical distancing does not need to mean social disconnection. Staying in touch with loved ones will help to maintain your mental health during long periods of self-isolation.

Find time every day to make virtual connections by email, text, phone or video calls. There are many ways you can use technology to stay connected with friends and family from scheduling a workout together over video chat to watching a movie over Zoom. 

Focusing on your favourite hobby can help with anxious thoughts and feelings. If you are not able to do the things you usually enjoy because of the current guidelines, it might be possible to continue with your favourite hobbies online.

You could also think about trying something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online. You could learn a new language, improve your fitness levels by trying out a new workout, sign up for a virtual pub quiz or even watch a music concert online. 

Constant exposure to information about COVID-19 through the news and social media can create negative feelings of anxiety, fear and stress. Avoid watching COVID-related news all the time. Try to limit your media exposure to no more than twice a day, checking for updates in the morning and before dinner, and avoid reading about COVID-19 before bedtime. 
Without your usual routine of having to get to school, college or the workplace, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy habits. But during difficult times like this, it's best if you can keep some structure in your day. Try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This keeps your brain and body active and can make you feel more in control.
If you feel overwhelmed with anxiety, find ways to calm down such as a relaxing bath, breathing exercises, meditation, an online yoga class, relaxing music or a mindful walk observing nature and the sounds around you. Select a technique that works for you and practice it regularly. There are also some great apps like Calm and Headspace you can download for meditation. 

Eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and engaging in physical activities are key to helping you stay as physically and psychologically healthy as possible during stressful times. Good self-care also keeps your immune system robust.

  •  Without structure, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy sleep habits like going to bed later and getting up later. It’s important that you go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

  •  Daily physical activity can help reduce anxiety, improve your mood and has a number of proven physical health benefits. Find an activity that includes movement, such as dance or exercise apps. Get outside in an area that makes it easy to maintain distance from people, such as a nature trail or your back garden.

  •  Avoid filling up on junk food and refined sugar. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as both can exacerbate your anxiety.

If your mental health is being impacted by the stress of the coronavirus, then you may want to seek professional help. Services such as e-health and tele-medicine are widely available with remote medical consultations becoming increasingly popular.

Allianz Care’s Expat Assistance Programme (EAP) is also available 24 hours a day, delivering multilingual and confidential support for mental, financial, physical and emotional wellbeing, including podcasts, wellness articles and expert counselling on the issues that weigh heavily on expat minds.  

The World Health Organisation has published advice on protecting your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak:


Allianz Care Expat Assistance Programme: